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Full text of "A Short History of the Glass Manufacture in Salem County, New Jersey"

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Glass ManufaduriTiff at Salem, N. J, 343 

qualify the Mayor elect.* On page 263 of the Minutes of 
the Common Council of the City of Philadelphia, under 
date of 26th November, 1726, Charles Read first figures as 
Mayor of the city. This office he held until 3d October, 
1727,' when his term expired, and he was elected Alderman. 
This office he held till his death, in the latter part of the 
year 1736.* Mr. Read was also Sheriff of the City of Phil- 
adelphia in 1729, 1730, and 1731. 

In the third volume of the " Pennsylvania Archives," p. 
546, there is a letter from Charles Read, Jr., Commissioner 
for Indian Affairs for New Jersey. It is dated at Burlington, 
September 29, 1758, and directed to Richard Peters, Esq., 
at Easton. May not the writer have been the son of Charles 
Read the younger? In fact, what could be more natural 
than that the grandson of Charles Read the elder should re- 
turn to the first residence of his grandfather at Burlington ? 
I am not aware that any of the descendants of Charles Read, 
in the male line, are in existence. 



A SHOET mSTOEY OF THE GLASS MANUFACTUEB 
IN SALEM COUNTY, NEW JEESEY. 

Bead bbfoke the Salem County Historical Society. 

BY R. M. ACTON. 

On what in some of the old surveys of this section is 
called " The great road to Pilesgrove" from Salem, by the 
way of Thompson's Bridge (now Alloway), but little more 
than a mile from the latter place, stands an old dwelling, 
built of logs neatly squared and dovetailed at the corners, 
carrying the scars where the joists have been sawn off, 
which at one time extended several feet beyond the first 
story to support the projecting roof, so common to the 

* Minutes of Common Council, pp. 249, 275, 361. 



344 Olaas Manufoiduring at Salem, N. J. 

homes of the early German settlers. This was the principal 
dwelling in the small village of Wistarburg. The kitchen 
of one story attached to the west end of the house has been 
removed within the last forty years. 

The interest connected with the locality arises from the 
fact that here, it is believed, the first glass-works that were 
successfully operated in the United States were erected.^ 
The store for the sale of merchandise (the removal of which 
has been of comparatively recent date) stood on the edge of 
the highway, on the same side with the dwelling and about 
fifty yards west of it, shaded by the stately sycamores still 
standing on the opposite side of the road, with the factories 
perhaps one hundred yards in the rear. 

Caspar "Wistar, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1717, in the 
twenty-second year of his age, came from Hilspach, in the 
•Electorate of Heidelburg, Prussia. Having but little means 
at his disposal after paying his passage, it was not without a 
severe struggle with adverse circumstances and the labor of 
years that he felt himself warranted in embarking in a new 
and untried industry, and attempting to fill a pressing need of 
the time, — the manufacture of glass. In pursuance thereof, 
in the year 1738 he purchased of Amos Penton a tract of 
land containing one hundred acres, bordering on a branch 
of Alloway Creek, on which he erected a glass-factory, the 
before-mentioned dwelling and store, as well as a number 
of dwellings for the workmen. In the fall of the same year 
he agreed to pay to James Marshall 58 pounds 8 shillings 
for the passage in the vessel of which he was master, from 
Rotterdam to Philadelphia, of Johan William Wentzel, 
Caspar Halter, Johan Martin Halter, and Simeon Kries- 
mier, experts in glass-blowing, they contracting to blow 
glass for him at his works and to teach him, the said Caspar 
Wistar, and his son Richard, the art and no one else. In 
consideration therefor they were to receive one-third part of 
the profits arising from the business, whilst he, on his part, 
was to provide dwellings for them at the works, transact the 

' As early as 1608 a factory was started at Jamestown, in Virginia, but 
not proving a success was soon abandoned. 



Glass Manufacturing at Salem, N. J. 345 

business, and supply the funds necessary for its prosecution, 
for the remaining two-thirds. Thus early we see co-opera- 
tion existing, and the effort of Capital and Labor combined 
to make the infant industry a success. 

I find a clause in the will of Caspar Wistar as follows : 
"In case of my death before the time mentioned in an 
article of agreement between Johan "William "Wentzel, Cas- 
par Halter, Johan Martin Halter, and Simeon Kriesmier, 
and myself, bearing date the 7th day of December, 1738, 
has expired, I direct my executors to continue the business 
until my part of the contract shall be fulfilled ; afterward 
they are to be managed by my wife and son Richard." 

Caspar Wistar died in 1752, after which the business was 
continued by his son Eichard, who enlarged and increased 
it, purchasing additional tracts of timber for the use of the 
works, until, at his death, in 1781, he owned more than two" 
thousand acres adjacent. 

How long the manufacture of glass was continued after 
the death of Richard "Wistar by his son John, who resided 
at Wistarburg, I have no data to inform me. 

The writer has heard old residents say it was a great resort 
in sleighing-time, visitors coming from far and near to see 
a sight so rare (as it then was) and withal so interesting. 
After the business was discontinued at "Wistarburg the ham- 
let gradually disappeared ; except the debris of the factories, 
the old dwelling being the only reminder of what once had 
been. 

The manufacture of glass, which appeared to have become 
a lost art in the county of Salem for a number of years, was 
taken up by the adjoining counties of Gloucester and Cum- 
berland, and prosecuted with great success, adding largely 
to their growth and prosperity. 

In the year 1862 a factory for the manufacture of bottles 
and other glassware was started in our city by Henry D. 
Hall, Joseph Pancoast, and John V. Craven, three of our 
enterprising citizens, which has met with deserved success ; 
and now, under the firm-name of Craven & Brother, three 
factories are running, giving employment to a large number 



346 Glass Maimfaetwring at Salem, N. J, 

of men and boys, and being a most important addition to the 
business of our city. 

One year later works for the production of window-glass 
were erected at Quinton's Bridge, three miles from Salem, 
by David Smith, George Hires, Charles Hires, and John 
Lambert, with the firm-name of Hires, Lambert & Co., 
which, after contending for some years with the many ob- 
stacles inseparable to the establishment of a new and exten- 
sive industry, has now, under the management of Hires & 
Company, been enlarged and improved until they have be- 
come one of our most important industrial centres, changing 
the old, straggling village of Quinton's Bridge from its dull, 
lifeless aspect into the attractive town of Quinton, with neat, 
tasteful buildings, the homes of industrious, thrifty crafts- 
men. 

An additional glass-works, built in the city of Salem by 
William Holtz, after being operated for some years by Holtz, 
Clark & Taylor, was discontinued until its fires were again 
lighted in 1879 by John Gayner, who had the misfortune to 
be burned out in April, 1884, but already has a new and 
much more complete factory, on a better site, in which he 
is manufacturing shades and other glass products; and I 
hope the misfortunes of the past will be forgotten by reason 
of the prosperity of the future. 

From the small beginning on the border of the AUoway 
has grown one of the most important of our manufacturing 
industries, until in 1880 (see Census Report) the capital em- 
ployed in the manufacture of glass the preceding year in the 
United States was about twenty millions of dollars, giving 
employment to twenty-four thousand men, girls, and boys, 
at wages aggregating nine millions of dollars yearly.